Watch this brief video to learn how different materials and alloys impact the design of manufactured parts in the forging process. Queen City Forging President Rob Mayer answers questions about . . .
• What kind of materials can be forged?
• What common structural metals are used in the forging process?
• How do temperature, durability and fault tolerance requirements of parts in service affect the choice of forging materials used?
• How does the application of high temperature ferrous materials and superalloys impact forging difficulty and cost?
Generally we think of forging materials as anything that's a metal. Now about 80% of the elements on the periodic table are metals, and almost all of those could be forged. Although most of the materials that are forged are alloys of things we think of more commonly as structural materials. Steel, obviously made from iron and carbon and manganese, aluminum and its alloys, magnesium and its alloys, copper and its alloys, titanium and its alloys. Those are all structural materials, all forged at different temperatures, all forged in different slight variations of the forging process.
And then as we go up in temperature, we go to ferrous materials that have additions of chrome and nickel, become stainless steels. Some of them become higher temperature stainless steels. Then we go on to nickel-based alloys, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, tungsten, other things that are added together to make high temperature materials, even refractory materials that are designed to operate where they're literally glowing red hot.
All of these things can be forged. Now the higher the temperature and the tougher those alloys, the more difficult it is to forge them. The bigger the equipment that's needed, the shorter the die life, the more expensive it's going to be. So why would you want to make your product out of one of these very expensive materials? It really comes down to what are the requirements in service? Is it in a severe high temperature application? Is it something that has to have the absolute durability and robustness that a forging will give you, so that it just isn't going to fail in that service condition? The end use really dictates what material is to be used and what forging process to use.